37-year-old GM David Navara has for many years been the highest rated player in the Czech Republic, and quite often also among the top 20 in the world.
Growing up, he won a number of youth titles and was coached by Czech chess legends such as Ludech Pachman and Vlastimil Jansa. He became a grandmaster in 2002, at 16.
David has won the Czech Championship ten times and has long been the first board anchor on the Czech national team. He also won the European Blitz Chess Championship in 2014 and has participated in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament on a number of occasions.
He participates in the TePe Sigeman Chess Tournament for the first time.
10 quick questions:
1) How many years have you played chess professionally?
For ten years, since 2010, when I got my master degree in logic. I quit logic then, as my games witness. That said, I had become a semi-professional long before, becoming a grandmaster 2002.
2) At what age did you learn how to play chess?
I was about six years old when I learned how to play chess.
3) Who taught you how to play chess?
Myself, from a chess book for beginners. (My grandmother had shown me that book to divert me.)
4) What was your first big tournament success (tournament win or similar)?
In children’s competitions, my bronze medal U12 in Cannes, 1997. In adult competitions, reaching 7/9 on the 2nd board (with a performance of 2775, I guess) of the European Team Championship in León, 2001 was the big breakthrough and my best result until 2005.
5) Do you sometimes also participate in other sports/games? If so, which and at what level?
6) Do you have any family members or relatives that also play chess? If so, who and at what level?
My grandfather was a decent amateur player. Given that he was aged exactly 64 when I was born, I don’t know how did he play at his best. I would guess something around 1700.
7) What would you be doing today, if you did not play chess professionally?
It would be nice to be a scientist.
8) How many languages do you speak?
Always one language less than I would need! Apart from my native language, I can speak two foreign languages very well, five decently and one so-so. It is eight foreign languages, if I have not lost all my mathematical abilities, yet.
9) Who, in your opinion, is the greatest chess player of all time? Why?
I am not sure if it makes sense to compare players across the time, as the circumstances were very different in many respects, including the general knowledge of chess, available ways of study, time controls (e.g. the adjourned games), event formats, level of support and the political situation. Superlatives are overrated.
10) What do you hope to achieve in the 2022 TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament?
Play good and interesting games, leave a good impression both at the board and outside it and hopefully also finish well.